THE Adelaide 36ers have continued their recent dominance over the Perth Wildcats grinding out a hard fought 77-65 win on Sunday at the Adelaide Arena to finish Round 6 of the NBL.
Even though the Wildcats have played off in two of the last three NBL grand finals and the 36ers haven’t played in the playoffs the last three campaigns, the Sixers have done well against Perth and that continued on Sunday.
The 36ers dominated the last quarter outscoring the Wildcats 24-8 to end up 77-65 winners that comes after Adelaide beat Perth twice last season despite finishing with the wooden spoon on top of claiming three of the four meetings back in 2010-11.
Sunday's win was the ideal way for Adelaide to bounce back from Friday night's dismal showing against Jonny Flynn and the Melbourne Tigers where the 36ers were blown out by 30 points.
However, being back in familiar surroundings of the Adelaide Arena did wonders for the 36ers and down the stretch against the experienced Wildcats they made all the right moves to end up 12-point winners.
Import guard CJ Massingale was outstanding with a breakout performance finishing with 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and 7-of-7 from the free-throw line.
The 30-year-old was signed this season by the 36ers after impressive form in the SEABL with the Knox Raiders but received limited minutes from coach Marty Clarke early on.
He didn’t score in limited opportunities in the first three games, then scored his first two points against Wollongong on October 28 before showing some encouraging signs against Sydney and Melbourne leading into Sunday's game with Perth where had a breakout performance.
Clarke always felt that Massingale could have a big impact even when not playing him much to start the season.
"He played like a veteran and hopefully he's grown in confidence and he can come to play like that every week," Clarke said.
"To be able to push the tempo a bit in the last quarter and get the ball out and get up the floor before the zone could get set, I thought we did a good job."
Big man Daniel Johnson was terrific for Adelaide also with 17 points and seven rebounds with Nathan Crosswell and Adam Gibson scoring nine points each, and former Wildcats championship player Stephen Weigh pulling in 11 boards.
The loss ends the Wildcats' five-game stretch to start the season on the road before their first game on Friday night at the brand new Perth Arena this Friday against the 36ers.
The 'Cats will still be reasonably happy with a 3-2 record from those five road games, but after first up wins over New Zealand, Townsville and Melbourne, losses the last two weeks to Wollongong and Adelaide have been disappointing.
Big man Matt Knight top-scored with 21 points and eight rebounds, but 17 of his points came in the first half. Reigning league MVP Kevin Lisch was the only other player in double-figures with 12.
Wildcats coach Rob Beveridge was far from happy after the game, especially with his team's free-throw shooting and fouls they conceded against Adelaide at the other end.
"I thought we were in control and then we missed five or six lay-ups which was very uncharacteristic for our players," Beveridge said.
"Free throws, for us to shoot 41 per cent, 7-of-17, is totally unacceptable, right there you lose the game. I thought defensively the way we just fouled was ridiculous. Those things I think are completely correctable real quick though."
Round 6 of the NBL began on Friday night Flynn's Melbourne Tigers thrashing Adelaide 96-66 at Hisense Arena with the Sydney Kings beating the Wollongong Hawks 65-51 at the Crown Kingdome and New Zealand beating Townsville 81-72 at the Townsville Entertainment Centre.
The Breakers ensured their successful weekend with a 73-54 win over the Cairns Taipans at the Cairns Convention Centre on Saturday night.
The results leave New Zealand (6-1) on top of the ladder ahead of Wollongong (5-1), Perth (3-2) and Adelaide (4-3). Sydney (4-4) is just outside the top-four followed by Cairns (3-4), Melbourne (2-4) and Townsville (0-8).